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Connect with your community to fight HIV/AIDS

In 1988, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS, established Dec. 1 as World AIDS Day. It’s a day to remember all those we’ve lost to HIV/AIDS, show support for those living with HIV/AIDS, and renew our fight to end the epidemic.

In 2018, 49 community members were diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. And more than 1,400 of our neighbors are living with HIV/AIDS. Considering all their friends, families and peers, many Pierce County residents experience the AIDS epidemic.

This year’s World AIDS Day message is Communities Make the Difference. Making social connections is healthy for everyone, especially those facing health challenges.

Social connections are linked to living longer, happier lives. Yet 1 in 3 people in the United States report feeling socially isolated, having 2 or fewer people to call on in times of need. For people living with HIV/AIDS, the risk of loneliness is even greater. And feeling isolated can lead to not seeking healthcare or stopping medications. Those living with HIV/AIDS can experience worse symptoms, perceive greater stigma and die sooner.

If you or someone you know has HIV/AIDS, Pierce County AIDS Foundation (PCAF) offers incredible support. They help people:

  • Attend support groups to share experiences or hear from others in similar situations.
  • Get help connecting with a mental health therapist or chemical dependency counselor.
  • Connect with free legal support.

If you or someone you know could benefit, give PCAF’s Tacoma office a call at (253) 383-2565.

Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department is committed to end the HIV epidemic. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows in 2016, people who didn’t know they had HIV or who weren’t receiving HIV care spread about 80% of the new HIV infections in the United States.

The best way to stop the spread of HIV is for everyone to know their HIV status and link those with HIV to healthcare and treatment. We’re partnering with PCAF, Tacoma Needle Exchange and Washington Department of Health to increase access to testing and treatment. On Dec. 3, 10 and 17 from 10 a.m.-1 p.m., our outreach vans will be in a parking lot on Puyallup Ave. between E. J and E. K St. Each van will have smiling faces, snacks, services and connections to treatment.

We’re all in the fight to end HIV together. Visit our clinic to get tested or linked to care. We’re here for you. Let’s end HIV/AIDS together.

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